You'd be forgiven for growing a little despondent when it comes to the rollercoaster ride of travelling at the moment, with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the planet and many people still in lockdown. Here in Far North Queensland, our tourism industry has taken an enormous hit from the border closures, and across the safari countries in Africa, there is huge unemployment as a result of the lack of international travel upon which they rely. But with Queensland opening its borders to most of the rest of Australia now, and the vaccine starting to roll out across the world, there is good reason for optimism as we enter 2021.
Like many of you, over the Christmas break we spent as much time as we could diving into nature and exploring our own back yard, and while this year's been very tough for business, it's also given me a chance to really appreciate Australia's natural beauty. It's a good time to be refining your camera skills and practicing on birds and other animals in your own back yard, if you're lucky enough to have one. It won't be long before we're out there photographing lions and elephants again, but now with the Queensland borders open to most of Australia, why not come up and pay us a visit and see for yourself why this part of the world is one of the most sought after destinations for international tourists?
Photo: Lumholtz tree kangaroo mother and young, taken on my parents' farm on the Atherton Tablelands, near Cairns
We are now able to offer special terms and conditions for bookings on our Great Australian Safari, planned for this year from 21-29 June this year. We are also looking at a second Aussie safari in late August/early September. This safari includes the outback, reef and rainforest - 3 iconic ecosystems all within a stone's throw of each other. You will be personally guided throughout by myself and some of the best local guides in the north and there is a maximum group size of 12. If at the time of travel you are in a Covid-19 hotspot, our guests are able to postpone their safari to new dates within the following 12 months and we will honour the price. Plus you can get your deposit back up to 31 days prior to our safari start date. We hope that these very special terms makes it easier for you to feel comfortable to book the Great Australian Safari with us.
COVID-19 booking policy - for travellers affected by declarations of Covid-19 hotspots and associated travel restrictions
30% deposit taken at time of booking.
- Guests can cancel 30+ days from original check-in date with no penalty
- Guests are eligible to a one-time free date change valid for 12 months from original check-in date (or credit note)
- We are pleased to be able to honour existing rates on all postponements over the 12 month period
In other news, the Great Reef Census has been rolling out across the Great Barrier Reef for the last few months and citizen scientists, tourism operators and reef experts surveyed 150 reefs, some of them never surveyed before by scientists. The Citizens team teamed up with Dell Technologies and many other partners to deliver this result and collect huge amounts of data on the state of the reef. They are planning an even bigger census this year which you can hear all about on our Great Australian Safari. Watch their latest video below.
While we'd love you to join us on our Great Australian Safari this year, it's also a great time to book a safari in Africa for 2022 with the vaccination program rolling out around the world this year. The Australian government anticipates that all Australians who want to get vaccinated will be able to by October. Safari bookings are already tight for 2022 as many people are very keen to escape the big city after this, so contact us to discuss your options and let's see what's possible.
Our wonderful partners in Africa have continued to support local communities and conservation efforts throughout the pandemic. Have a look at some of the amazing projects your safaris booked through us support on the ground through our partners, like the amazing crew at Natural Selection. Below is an update from their community support program in Botswana.
There's nothing like the excitemet of waking up in the dawn light and knowing you're on safari, listening to the sounds of hyenas and lions through the canvas of your luxurious safari tent. It's just the best feeling in the world. For our Aussie guests, going on an Australian safari in the far north is the next best thing to being in Africa and we know you'll love the journey we've created with so much love this year. Please drop us a line to learn more about the Great Australian Safari or read more here.
Photo: Baby mountain gorilla seen by my group in Rwanda in December 2019 - very special! Rwanda is ranked #6 in the world by the Lowy Institute in how well they've managed Covid-19, another reason why you should join me there on safari in December this year. Talk to us about flexible booking terms for our African safaris in late 2021 and 2022.
Finally, our friends at Singita have developed a wonderful playlist of sounds from Africa to help you meditate or just to imagine you are there. CLICK on this link to check it out and enjoy a little escape to Africa!